By Tom Tolen /

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its disruptive effect on schools across the country, Brighton High School students will be given their choice of whether to receive an actual grade or merely a “credit” for having taken and passed their 4th quarter courses.

According to High School Principal Gavin Johnson, this way of assessing student performance is the district’s interim solution to an unforeseen circumstance: that of online classes replacing in-school courses. Under the new policy, students may choose to go for a credit/no credit mark for the 4th quarter or “opt in” for actual grades, based on what they received in their third quarter progress report. If they opt in, the grades will be posted in June as their second semester grades. Johnson says credits and grades for the second semester will not be factored into cumulative grade point average calculations, regardless of whether the student chooses to opt in.

Credit will be given for students passing third quarter, based on their progress report grade, if they have been participating in online learning. However, students who were not passing third quarter and have not been taking part in online learning will not be given credit. Students who want to opt in will have to do so by this Friday, May 15th, via an e-mail sent to their grade level principal, and Johnson says the procedure will be e-mailed to all students and parents. Students who want to opt in can’t choose a particular course, but must opt in for all courses. Superintendent Greg Gray says that allowing the students to choose whether they want the option of a grade or not is “a good solution” to the challenges posed by switching from in-building classes to online learning. In Gray’s words, “We wanted to make sure that whether they're going to a trade school, the military, a 2-year college or a 4-year college, the students would be protected.”

Johnson says a board subcommittee formulated the policy, with the help of Supt. Gray and assistant supt. for curriculum and instruction Liz Mosher, and it was presented to the teaching staff on May 8th. The policy will remain in effect for the rest of the school year. Students with extenuating circumstances who would like to discuss their situation with an administrator are asked to contact Johnson if they’re in 11th or 12th grade, 10th grade Principal Jennifer Sprys Tellner if they’re sophomores or Matt Evans if they’re in 9th grade. The college credit of dual enrollment students — that is, those who are taking courses for which they are also receiving college credit — will not be affected by the credit-no credit option and they will still receive a separate grade from the college. All student transcripts will contain an asterisk, indicating it was a COVID-19 grading semester.